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East and west coasts dive into The Pool
Collaborative software unites students from U-Me and UCSC
The PoolThe Pool, an online collaborative environment created by Still Water, has earned a headline story in Wired magazine, a feature in the Chronicle of Higher Education, and a demonstration at Harvard's Berkman Center for the Internet and Society. Yet with the exception of a semester-long experiment with students from UC-Berkeley in 2003, until this year The Pool's audience has been almost exclusively students at the University of Maine.

This term, however, The Pool has become a lot more crowded, as students from two classes at the University of California at Santa Cruz join three U-Me classes in using this unusual software to bounce ideas off each other and receive feedback across the two campuses.

The Pool interface

Athough divided across the east and west coast, the 250 students will be united by a common interface and timeline as they contribute intents, sketch approaches, build approaches, and offer feedback across classes and time zones. University of Maine professors Joline Blais and Jon Ippolito will present a preliminary report of the testbed's results at a conference organized by UC-Santa Cruz, The Art of Collaboration, on 23 October 2009.

The Pool is already awash with contributions. As of October 2009, The Pool had 450 users tracking over 1500 project versions via over 3400 reviews. Significantly, these contributions precipitate a greater social impact than the typical "one-off" assignments submitted and filed away in most university classes, for The Pool encourages students across different courses and in future years to learn from and build off works from the past.

The PoolAccording to a sociological analysis by Margaretha Haughwout published in a 2006 article in the peer-reviewed journal First Monday, the longer students used The Pool, the more likely they were to choose license terms that permitted their work to be re-used by others. Apart from attracting a more diverse population to The Pool, the U-Me/Santa Cruz collaboration aims to follow up on Haughwout's original analysis by surveying users before and after their experience with The Pool to examine how attitudes toward and styles of collaboration vary with geography and ethnic background.

The Pool was conceived and produced by members of the New Media Department, including faculty Joline Blais, Jon Ippolito, Mike Scott, and Owen Smith and students John Bell, Margaretha Haughwout, Matt James, Jerome Knope, Kristin Murphy, and Justin Russell.



Updated: 2009-12-02 by Jon Ippolito
Posted 2009-10-14 17:38:35 by Jon Ippolito
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